But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.Matthew 24:13
Every Bible student knows that he must take care to read a verse within context. He also knows that the word save (Gr. sozo) can be used to mean justification – saved from the penalty of sin (2 Tim 1:9, Titus 3:5, Eph 2:5, Mark 16:16), sanctification – being saved from the power of sin (1 Cor 1:18, 1 Cor 15:2, 2 Cor 2:15), glorification – our future salvation from the presence of sin (1 Cor 5:5) or physical preservation or deliverance (Mark 15:30, Mark 13:20, James 2:14).
By way of context, we read that Jesus is answering a question the disciples had made him, “what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matt 24:3). Jesus, concerned the disciples not be misled by those who say “I am the Christ” (Matt 24:4-5), replies speaking of a future time when nations will be at war and disasters in various places will occur. False prophets would arise and mislead many while lawlessness will increase and people’s love will grow cold. In Jesus says, “the one who endures to the end will be saved“.
One question we could ask ourselves is, what end is He referring to? The end of their life? The next verse helps explain the end referred to in context, “then the end will come“. This is the end of the age the disciples were asking about. In fact, Jesus continues talking more about that end when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through the prophet Daniel…this is referring to the midpoint of the tribulation (Dan 9:27). Those who are in Judea should flee to the mountains to be saved (not spiritually but physically) since the days of hiding would not have to be forever. Following the tribulation of those days we see the following will take place…
“And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.Matthew 24:31
We can see that the context clearly establishes that Matthew 24:13 is not referring to having to endure to the end of one’s life in order to be saved from Hell. Rather, these are instructions for those living during the great tribulation period to flee to the mountains until the period of the abomination of desolation is over to be saved physically and ultimately enter the millennial kingdom. According to Daniel, from the setting up of the abomination of desolation until the end of the tribulation is a period of three and a half years. These will be words of hope to those having to endure this period.
Using this verse to bring in doubt of God’s promise of salvation entirely through Jesus Christ on the basis of faith alone in His finished work is to go against hundreds of clear passages of Scripture both in the Old and New Testaments. We are not saved from hell by enduring to the end. We are saved eternally at the moment of washing and regeneration of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). Salvation is only by the means of God’s unmerited favor through Christ (Eph 2:5, 8) and not by works of endurance, faithfulness, commitment, we do (Eph 2:9). The security of the believer rests in God’s promise to keep him and not based on the performance of the believer (Rom 4:16). Those who reject this truth ultimately teach a Gospel by works (Gal 1:6-9).
Incidentally, we are not sanctified by our works either (Gal 3:1-3). Sanctification does not happen in the life of the believer living in Romans 7. This is sanctification failure as testified by Paul himself trying to live the Christian life without the power afforded him by the Holy Spirit. The power to say ‘no’ to sin does not come from the law or by prohibition or retraining of new habits but rather by the teaching of grace (Tit 2:11-12) and the power of the Spirit (Gal 5:16). We are encouraged to stand firm in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Tim 2:1, Eph 6:1). Focused on His grace, holding firmly to the grace that is in Christ Jesus and not leaning (depending) on our own will-power or strength. God is the one who gives the willingness and the working unto good to the believer (Phil 2:13). Peter’s last recorded words were, “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ“. This is not about knowledge for mental power and strength, it is not about seeking deeper spiritually above and beyond grace, this is about the understanding of Christ’s working for the believer in order to provide the means so that by actively depending on His power, the believer can deliver by grace from the power of sin (Rom 6:1-13).